49ers: 3 things to expect from rookie Talanoa Hufanga in 2021
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Talanoa Hufanga only played six games in the pandemic shortened 2020 Pac-12 season. He put up some monster numbers in that short campaign. The stat category that stands out the most is the sacks.
Hufanga recorded three sacks in those six games. That was more than any of the 13 safeties drafted ahead of him for the 2020 college season. He is very good when playing up at the line of scrimmage, and is an excellent pass-rusher.
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In 2021, the 49ers should have great depth at the safety position. The fact that starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has been placed on the IR in three of the last four seasons was probably a big part of why they selected Hufanga.
In the event Tartt is inactive for a game, look for defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to use Hufanga in a similar fashion to how safety Jamal Adams is used by the Seattle Seahawks.
While Hufanga will likely not have 9.5 sacks in 2021 as Adams did in 2020, he will be a pass-rushing force for the Niners defense. If he gets significant playing time, look for Hufanga to have something closer to three or four sacks in 2021.